“Authenticity means exercising the compassion to know that we are all made of strength and struggle.” Brené Brown, Gifts of Imperfection
I believe that “being seen” is one of the most profound human experiences we can have this side of heaven. I think it means that someone is able to fully acknowledge all the beauty, but also love us in spite of the flaws; they celebrate the light burning inside of us, as much as the darkness that sometimes gets the better of us. I think being seen is acceptance of all that makes up our authentic selves – the good, the bad, the strength and the struggle.
Years ago, I used to hold back connecting with people hiding behind my own self-created wall because I didn’t want them to be able to get too close; what if they saw that I wasn’t perfect? What if they saw that I didn't have it all together, all the time?
Now, I allow people to see the real me, though my daily interactions, in the choices I make, through my writing and speaking and certainly when I have the opportunity to share what I’ve learned along this journey. My flaws are just as much a part of the fabric of who I am, as much as the strengths.
I used to believe that I had to “suck it up,” and do the soul-crushing jobs in corporate America until I earned and saved enough money and paid off enough debt so that I could one day do something I really enjoyed; so that one day I could be happy.
Now, as I sit here in the middle of my life, I know that it’s actually just the opposite.
As soon I found my soul and begin to nurture it a bit, everything came to life. The dreams that had been placed on my heart and that had been speaking to me all those years, they never went away, they never quit tugging at me or beckoning me (by the way, yours aren’t going anywhere either). With just a little light and love, the dreams began to take root and flourish. When I got took the time to see and value myself, the universe winked back.
I was watching TV one night recently and a successful and confident woman was giving an acceptance speech for an award and she thanked her partner for “seeing me even when I didn’t see myself," and tears came to my eyes. What a gift!
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about personal or professional relationships, we all want to be seen, accepted and loved as our authentic selves. Because we all have a story of strength and flaws and we’re all imperfectly perfect. I like things that look a little worn, like a piece of furniture that needs refinished; it means it’s been though something and it has a story...a history. I think it’s the same with people.
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